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Dweezil demonstrates and clearly explains everything step-by-step, concept-by-concept. The Five Shapes of Freedom are also clearly illustrated in a series of charts. All of the key demonstrations are also tabbed and notated.
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It was inevitable that from the moment of his birth his life would be filled wall-to-wall with music (his father having listed his religion as “musician” on Dweezil’s birth certificate). Dweezil’s early years were spent largely away from the spotlight—something of a rarity for the child of a celebrity, but perfect for cultivating a close relationship with his family. Having watched his father perform concerts from the side of the stage since he was in diapers it was no surprise that he began to show an interest in music early on. At 6 years old he received his first guitar, a Fender Music Master from his dad.
It wasn't until he was 12 that he began to show a serious interest in manipulating the instrument to make music. Having primarily heard the music his father was working on or listening to at home while growing up, Dweezil soon found himself exposed to some new sounds on the radio. Besides his father's music, he began listening to the Beatles, Queen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix. Like many aspiring guitarists of his generation, Dweezil‘s ear was caught in a stranglehold by the trailblazing guitar styles of Edward Van Halen and Randy Rhoads.
Explore the Course
Dweezil organized Fretboard Freedom into two mind-blowing sections. In the first section, he presents the fundamentals of his Five Shapes of Freedom system in just four video lessons. He'll show you the five shapes, their 'mirror image patterns' and their 'neighbors' to the right and left.
In the second section, Dweezil shares an improvisational toolbox filled with technical and creative applications for the Five Shapes of Freedom system: Connecting The Shapes, Pentatonic Color Palette, Resequencing Phrases, Rhythmic Resequencing, Picking Techniques, Economy Picking Pentatonics, Connecting Small Phrases, Pivoting With Connectors, Randomization, In-Between The Box and the Whole Tone Scale. This course offers 21 lessons covering 1+ hours of material in step-by-step, digestible presentation.
Hello, I’m Dweezil Zappa and welcome to Dweezology: Fretboard Freedom. Time and time again, we’ve all asked ourselves “How can I break out of the box, man?” Well, a better question might be “How can I STRETCH the box?” <p> In this course, I’ll show you five simple shapes—taking everything that you know about the pentatonic box and moving it anywhere on the neck. We’ll learn these “Five Shapes of Freedom” and extend them further by using Mirror Image Patterns, the Pentatonic Color Palette, and Rhythmic Resequencing. I’ll show you an Economy Picking technique and we’ll look at pivoting and connecting strategies to bring it all together. We’ll also look at the notes in between the pentatonic box, making it more interesting and raising a few eyebrows. <p> I will demonstrate and explain each approach and break down every example in detail, with all of the key examples tabbed and notated for you. You’ll also get charts for the essential Five Shapes of Freedom. Alright, grab your guitars and let’s get started!
In this first section, I’ll introduce you to the Five Shapes of Freedom. We’ll start to demystify the neck and begin to connect pentatonics so you can play in any position or key. We’ll also break down the strings into three sets of two to help you organize your thoughts and grow small ideas to even bigger ones. Let’s get started!
The first thing we’re going to look at is the infamous pentatonic box, and how to escape it. By breaking down the pentatonic scale into two note segments, we can create new shapes to move around the fretboard. I’ll demonstrate the Five Shapes of Freedom—getting us out of the box and to the next octave, starting anywhere on the neck.
We can take the Five Shapes of Freedom and mirror them within three octaves, getting us out of a linear understanding of pentatonics and giving us more room. I’ll demonstrate how and where to mirror them to extend the pentatonic box.
We’ll look further at breaking down the strings into three groups of two strings, considering the A & D string and the B & G string as subsets that the Five Shapes of Freedom can be played on. However, we must adjust and offset the shapes to compensate for this change. I’ll demonstrate these changes, working them into the positions we’ve already learned and looking forward to connecting the shapes into patterns.
It’s time to meet the neighbors! Taking what you already know—that same old pentatonic box—we’ll change the two note shapes into three note patterns, using their “neighbors” to the left and right. This two fret extension combines two shapes by uniting it with its neighbor, integrating a unison note into the new pattern. We’ll also look at extending the Five Shapes of Freedom within our three groups of strings and their respective subsets, making sure your hand and thumb are positioned to make long stretches across several frets
In this next section, I’ll introduce you a lot of new options for using the Five Shapes of Freedom. We’ll look at Economy Picking, a right hand technique that we can use to attack the notes and develop new rhythmic patterns. We’ll look at the notes in between the pentatonic box as well, giving you a unique sound and a new style. Let’s get started!
Now that we know the notes within the five shapes fairly well, we’ll look at creative ways to connect them to one another. Two different techniques will be highlighted in this lesson—sliding between the shapes to give the transitions better voicing, and using opposite phrases to ascend and descend within the shapes to mix them up.
In this lesson, I’ll show you how to move the Five Shapes of Freedom to several different keys. Instead of practicing patterns in every single key, we’ll look at the keys that it works best in: F sharp, A, B, and E. We’ll explore connecting them together to help build your pentatonic vocabulary and create your own style.
We’ll start by playing the pentatonic scale and adding a third note to each string, then resequencing the notes in the scale to make it less predictable.
I’ll demonstrate how to give a sense of rhythm to the pentatonic shapes using repetition of notes, playing open strings between phrases, and adding a note to each phrase. I’ll play an example of rhythmic resequencing from my new album, <i>Via Zamata</i>, to illustrate this method of connecting phrases.
We’ll go over the fundamentals of different picking techniques such as Economy (or Sweep) Picking and Hybrid Picking. I’ll show you an exercise to help you get accustomed to these new picking patterns.
We’ll begin to attach notes to the Economy Picking technique, mirroring the down, down, up picking direction with three note phrases. By piecing the phrases together, we can build scale-like patterns and begin to apply it to the pentatonic box.
In this lesson, we’ll look at using three note phrases with Economy Picking to greatly increase your picking speed, demonstrated using pentatonic phrases.
We’ve looked at how to connect the Five Shapes of Freedom to their neighbors, now we will look at how to do so using a new pattern. Visualizing the pattern by notes per string (3-1-3), we’ll apply our Economy Picking technique to make it more efficient.
Beginning with the 3-1-3 pattern from the previous lesson, we can “pivot” within phrases using Economy Picking to add more variety between the pentatonic shapes. This technique is useful in improvisational situations to generate new phrases and deviate from the standard pentatonic sound.
We’ll look at another way to pivot between phrases using a connecting phrase we learned earlier. Combined with a 3-1-3 pattern, I’ll develop a pivoting exercise that will help you feel comfortable moving around the fretboard in improvisational settings.
Using the pentatonic box as our guide, we can change up our picking technique and use connecter phrases in randomized ways, resequencing it to add rhythmic variety.
Instead of focusing on the music terminology or the technicality of what’s happening, we’ll use our ear to find the “weird” notes within the pentatonic box. Small half-step movements can make phrases based in the pentatonic box more interesting, and by having conviction and resolving well, the listener won’t be confused.
Favorited by Thelonious Monk and characteristic of dream sequences, the Whole Tone Scale is perhaps the “weirdest” set of notes. Strangely enough, it can be played on the B & G string subset without having to adjust or offset any notes. I’ll demonstrate how the Whole Tone Scale can be easily worked into pentatonic phrases.
Thank you for picking up Dweezology: Fretboard Freedom! I hope you've found it to be useful. By thinking of the guitar as three sets of 2 strings it's possible to organize your thoughts and create new visual pathways which ultimately lead to more creativity and variety in your music. As you explore the Five Shapes of Freedom I hope it will give you some new perspectives on things you're already familiar with so that you can use them in new ways. Consider these tools and strategies to be the building blocks of your own musical invention. I hope you can use them to create your own new vocabulary of licks and motifs and that you will challenge yourself to be more diverse harmonically and rhythmically adventurous. If you would like to learn more about me, visit my website at dweezilzappaworld.com. Until next time!
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